Off your head.

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Re: Off your head.

Postby spiral » 5:17 pm

Chad wrote:What distinction are you trying to draw between beheading and decapitation?


None
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Re: Off your head.

Postby Chad » 1:01 pm

Yer gunna afta walk me through this... it went way over my head (thus avoiding any chance of decapitation).
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Re: Off your head.

Postby hvered » 8:48 pm

Decapitation came up in a fascinating archaeology programme (the first time I've used fascinating and archaeology programme in the same sentence) which discussed some Roman burials with the heads found by the legs or knees, in one case beside the thigh. It appears that Roman beheadings were commoner in GB than anywhere else in their empire and the positioning of these heads is something of a mystery.

One explanation is it was to prevent revenants but it would be more effective to remove the head altogether or destroy it perhaps? In medieval times some corpses (witches?) were mutilated by cutting off the feet and/ or turning them backwards to make it physically impossible to pursue the living.

[It could be the corpses had undergone a ritual punishment where the victim's head was forced down and the hands and feet bound but the head would have probably been placed between the legs not to one side. I wonder if it is significant on which side the head was.]
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Re: Off your head.

Postby Boreades » 9:07 pm

hvered wrote:Decapitation came up in a fascinating archaeology programme (the first time I've used fascinating and archaeology programme in the same sentence) which discussed some Roman burials with the heads found by the legs or knees, in one case beside the thigh. It appears that Roman beheadings were commoner in GB than anywhere else in their empire and the positioning of these heads is something of a mystery.

One explanation is it was to prevent revenants but it would be more effective to remove the head altogether or destroy it perhaps? In medieval times some corpses (witches?) were mutilated by cutting off the feet and/ or turning them backwards to make it physically impossible to pursue the living.

[It could be the corpses had undergone a ritual punishment where the victim's head was forced down and the hands and feet bound but the head would have probably been placed between the legs not to one side. I wonder if it is significant on which side the head was.]


When you say Roman burials, are we talking about Romans buried in Britain, or British natives from the Roman period? If the latter, off the top of my head, I think I might know the answer. It was common belief among Druids, then and now, that mutilating or disturbing a dead person's body caused them huge disrespect and interfered with their after-life. See (for example) Emma Restall-Orr's (co-founder of the Druid Network) website on Honouring The Ancient Dead.

the fundamental expression of respect for a dead person is to allow them to rest in peace.

So, for the Romans, being very keen on breaking the will of Britons to resist their invasion, this would have served a straight-forward (but grim) political purpose.
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Re: Off your head.

Postby Rocky » 9:46 pm

Boreades wrote:When you say Roman burials, are we talking about Romans buried in Britain, or British natives from the Roman period?

Archaeologists can't tell from bones though apparently analysing isotopes of strontium reveals foreigners.

It was common belief among Druids, then and now, that mutilating or disturbing a dead person's body caused them huge disrespect and interfered with their after-life.

Modern Druids no doubt claim their beliefs are authentic but how can anyone know what Druids or anyone else believed then?

the fundamental expression of respect for a dead person is to allow them to rest in peace.

So, for the Romans, being very keen on breaking the will of Britons to resist their invasion, this would have served a straight-forward (but grim) political purpose.

Rather dangerous to mess with the natives' burial rites. Aren't the Romans supposed to have left well alone so long as tributes were paid on time?
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Re: Off your head.

Postby Boreades » 10:47 pm

Rocky wrote:
Boreades wrote:When you say Roman burials, are we talking about Romans buried in Britain, or British natives from the Roman period?

Archaeologists can't tell from bones though apparently analysing isotopes of strontium reveals foreigners.

It was common belief among Druids, then and now, that mutilating or disturbing a dead person's body caused them huge disrespect and interfered with their after-life.

Modern Druids no doubt claim their beliefs are authentic but how can anyone know what Druids or anyone else believed then?

the fundamental expression of respect for a dead person is to allow them to rest in peace.

So, for the Romans, being very keen on breaking the will of Britons to resist their invasion, this would have served a straight-forward (but grim) political purpose.

Rather dangerous to mess with the natives' burial rites. Aren't the Romans supposed to have leave well alone so long as tributes were paid on time?


As you say - Archaeologists can't tell from bones - but DNA profiling can (hence we know the Saxons were never more than 10% of population at most,)

"how can anyone know what Druids or anyone else believed " - Well, oral unwritten tradition sometimes has a nasty habit of proving to be a better way of preserving long-term memory than written records. Druidic training (as evidenced by the Romans themselves) included years of practice to make sure that what they believed was transferred intact from one generation to the next.

"Rather dangerous to mess with the natives' burial rites. " - agreed - but what we're talking about is Romans who imposed strange burial rites.
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Re: Off your head.

Postby spiral » 6:31 am

hvered wrote:In medieval times some corpses (witches?) were mutilated by cutting off the feet and/ or turning them backwards to make it physically impossible to pursue the living.


This is a version of a ancient hunting practice, if you are tracking a animal for a few days, in order to improve your odds you reverse the animals tracks (the tracks represent the animals life path/destiny) so by changing its tracks, say by redrawing them in the earth, you alter the animal's destiny...... A version of this occurs in the Hermes myth.

It occurs in many forms of folklore.
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Re: Off your head.

Postby spiral » 10:36 am

We are approaching the start of the megalithic metal working season. Commonly known as Easter. If you think Hephaestus, you would be right. See ME page 86....
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Re: Off your head.

Postby Boreades » 2:10 pm

spiral wrote:We are approaching the start of the megalithic metal working season. Commonly known as Easter. If you think Hephaestus, you would be right. See ME page 86....


Interesting. I see he is sometimes depicted as lame or halting. Perhaps caused by Arsenicosis which is caused by low levels of arsenic exposure. In the Bronze Age, arsenic (a metal) was sometimes used instead of tin to harden copper. Have we found similar legends of lame metal workers in megalithia? Between Devon and Cornwall, the Tamar Valley (especially) had huge amounts of arsenic that were worked on a large scale.
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Re: Off your head.

Postby spiral » 2:28 pm

You can check out Wayland Smith. pg 134/135 ME.
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